marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Sometime after dinner tonight our download speeds dropped to half a megabit per second on direct connect and pages wouldn't load over wifi, which I caught onto when I couldn't get live.com to display after seven minutes. I was on the phone with Comcast by then because seriously, seven minutes.

Other Person was complaining of the iHeart Radio app buffering before dinner and I was like, "iHeart, it always does that", because iHeart, it always does that, which is why I use YouTube on AutoPlay (and might also be because I keep forgetting Amazon Prime. I should sell my subscription to someone who'll actually use it, but that's probably somewhere out there in ToS territory.).

But no, this time he was actually onto something. Which meant our internet was fubared...again.

It was so late by the time we realized the modem was blazing away at baud speed our call was routed to India, which I knew it would be before I dialed, and I was steamed because I know India doesn't do tech support late at night, and the rare times they've tried I've wished I could fly to India to tell their entire team to never try to do tech support again. It's some combination of barely being able to grasp each other and lousy training that just doesn't work.

After 10 minutes of questions and troubleshooting (the rep didn't ask us to power cycle the modem; instead, without asking, she reset it, opening our signal to the public after I just locked it down again last month - for the third time in a year) which got us nowhere (the ethernet and wifi stayed the same - half a megabit down/too slow to measure, respectively) the rep had the sweet presence of mind to transfer us to tech support - in the US! I was like, "Oh, thank God I don't have call back during business hours tomorrow".

But I sensed USian tech would also not help. Sure enough, he made us power cycle the modem right away, so I was walking between the modem (well, jumping - I have to climb on the back of the couch to reach it, then hop back down) and my laptop sitting on the table nearby making the same sounds Eminem makes in some of his more gut-wrenching raps: "Aaaarrrggggghhhh!" because fuck, this is tech support, and I was over power cycling about 295 years ago.

The signal, of course, showed no signs of improvement, so he signed us up for a tech to come out. I asked uselessly whether we'd be charged or not, because I knew the answer: if it's on our end; yes, on their end, no. AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!! I had a hunch, so I waited 'til OP went to bed and took the entire living room apart, shoving furniture aside, and dug up the 10 feet or so of coax buried under the rug.

Coax is not supposed to be under a rug. But ours crosses a walkway to reach where we had it (more in the center of the room; it actually grows out of a corner on the far side of the living room near the patio door - thank you 1970s pre-internet cable installer) so it had to be under the rug because there wasn't enough line to go across the floor in any other direction.

But, after I got off the phone with tech support, I recalled how I recently came into more coax when someone nearby moved out. You can wrap this cable around the entire downstairs, and it's untouched, still in its original binds. So that was tonight's project: tucking in the new coax from a different spot I knew would leave just one foot exposed instead of seven or eight. And I could just tape that down to the hardwood floor.

As I took the old coax out, I checked the length of it with my fingers, a big, bright floodlight and my reading glasses, hoping if the problem was on our end, I'd find it. I got three quarters done and looked away, ready to toss it aside and unscrew the other end, when I felt my finger catch. Looking down, I went: "Oh my God" and held the coax to the light. My hunch was right: we got new (to us) leather furniture in exchange for a job OP did this week; it weighs a ton, and my guess is someone dragged one of the pieces at an angle and tore a bit of coax under the rug.

But then I had a plague of doubt if it was indeed the dragging of the new furniture that tore the chunk out of it, or if the missing chunk even affected the signal that much, or at all.

Either way, I unrolled the new coax, got it where I knew its living situation was an improvement, taped the entirely expected one foot of leftover cable to the hardwood floor (I think I've been practicing this in my head for a year; I don't know why I didn't dig out the new cable sooner), re-assembled the living room, power cycled the modem, restarted my laptop, and gaaaah...1mbps down. Then two. Then three. Ran a few more tests. The same. Ran another. 15mbps. Another. 35mbps. Another. 33mbps. Then I got back online and wrote this.

Everything's been fine since, and the coax needed refreshing anyway, so I guess this worked out pretty good.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I'm not posting a full screen shot with location, latency information (48ms - actually kind of awful) and protocol (IPv6) so you'll just have to take my word for it, but the initial speed test - while we were still on the phone with Level 5 tech support after he fixed our download speed - shot up to a comparatively decent 578.75mbps:

A screencap showing our new download speed at 578.75mbps - really freaking fast, in other words

I want this screencap framed. Better yet, I want this download speed.

Alas, it was not to be: subsequent tests show speeds as high as 150mbps (entirely on the kitchen laptop, which has the wireless N spec - the prototype of wireless N, in other words - and yet still it flies) to as low as the usual 30-45mbps on other devices around the house, but hey, I can look at this screencap, at what was for a few seconds, and dream.

It's not an unusual speed in South Korea, after all. And obviously it's possible here. The price, though, probably isn't within reach for most of us.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

After we brought the modem home one hot and disgusting day toward the end of last month in between ceaseless rain storms, Other Person called Comcast to help us troubleshoot it. The modem was simply not cooperating; we'd exchanged the old one to fix download speeds as low as 1.5mbps when we're supposed to be getting 75mbps down and no less than 30-45 over wifi, but even with the new modem there was no improvement.

OP wound up speaking to what, back in the day, we'd call Level 5 tech. The guy who worked with him over the phone (it was on speaker so I could listen and participate as needed) was well-spoken and clearly knowledgeable, as well as extremely patient and nice, but couldn't figure it out. He walked OP through a number of steps and processes to no avail, before he got the idea to log into our modem as us and make some adjustments.

This meant granting himself access to our gateway admin panel (the panel you normally log into over 10.0.0.0.1, or similar) which made me a bit nervous because I tend to lock things down like Fort Knox the same day we bring each modem home (and this is our third one in a year, so I've gotten rather good at practicing really tight security) but I consented simply to get the modem running right.

Well, it got running right (I'll post an image of just how fast our wifi is on the laptop we keep in the kitchen to use while we're cooking or hanging out nearby, maybe as my next post, only because it is rather funny by itself) but the possible tradeoff for that was when I logged into our Comcast account later on that night, the wifi page told me the modem was no longer ours.

But this was impossible with the way Level 5 would have left things for us. He specifically asked permission to use our last modem's broadcast name (let's say it was Cowboy, though it was not) and our last wifi password (let's say it was c0mca5t5uck5, though it was not) while he was in there making his adjustments*, which we allowed him to do for the sake of expediency.

But when I logged into Comcast later on that night instead of seeing the gateway broadcasting as Cowboy with the password c0mca5t5uck5, I saw this:

Instead of seeing our wifi broadcast name and password, I saw info belonging to someone else on our Comcast account page

The screencap shows our gateway broadcasting with the wrong name and password. To protect the information from search indexing I'm not posting the text.

I'm like, who is L*, and what kind of password is that, because neither I nor OP would ever choose it. There is and has never been a gateway named L* in our area, so it didn't seem like it could be an odd, local mixup on Comcast's part, not to mention our wifi was literally broadcasting as Cowboy - not as L* - even as I saw this strange name and password on the page, so it also didn't seem possible a stranger had overtaken our router. And again, our Level 5 told us he used Cowboy and c0mca5t5uck5 when he went into our router to make his changes, so he should not have been at fault for why the broadcast name and password were showing up as someone else's.

At this point I was wondering if I should call Comcast as I realized I hadn't once logged into the admin panel myself to do my usual Fort Knox lockdown, when suddenly I thought to just refresh the page. Sure enough, the reloaded page showed our broadcast name as Cowboy and the password as c0mca5t5uck5. Multiple refreshes didn't bring the page back to showing the wrong name and password, so at that point it looked like the problem was solved - but not knowing what caused it has been sort of bugging me ever since.

* Edited after posting to more accurately explain what Level 5 did.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I'm tired of thinking a business might finally be correcting course (see anything I've written about Comcast, which uses bait-and-switch tactics for basic income flow the same way AOL uses their pitiful remnant of remaining dial-up customers) only to have them turn tail on me as soon as I say nice things about them and try to get on with my life.

Case in point: yes, Comcast has taken back my credits on last month's bill. Yes! Again. For something like three months running they've gleefully pulled this Lucy at Charlie Brown "I promise I won't pull the football away" trick. I'm thinking I'm not going to fight it directly, but still might give them one more call for Old Time's sake, because how am I supposed to go more than a few weeks without calling them? I wouldn't be me anymore, not after playing almost three solid years of their games.

When I call it'll be just like good Old Times: they'll offer me the world, or at least to fix what they've done wrong, I'll get all weak-kneed and goo-goo eyed at such soothing promises, then as usual they won't fix it and I'll have to call them back because for the thousandth time they've lied to me again, but then instead of duking it out with them, this time I'll pursue some other option. It is that time of year, after all, when I do things like that.

And nope, I don't mean another blog. At least not anytime soon. But I can't say exactly what I might or might not do (because I'm still too white-hot-mad to think about it; it can take time for me to stop boiling and start planning) only that it shall be dealt with.

In the meantime, the lovely folks at BoA who I'll never trust again have finally agreed, after hours of phone calls over the span of the last three days, to rescind the $12 fee for a check I asked the check writer to cancel last week and (after many more calls, call transfers and hold-wait times) to lift the hold on the new check the check writer wrote to replace the cancelled one. So they finally made things right.

But they should never have done those things. If it's "illegal", as one rep told me a little over a week ago, for their bank to accept a check without endorsements on the back of it, then what are they charging a $12 fee to process it for? Why are their ATMs even programmed to accept checks without endorsements? If their ATMs can "read" the front of a check - and boy, they sure can - then their ATMs can "read" the back of a check and spit the damn thing out if it looks blank; it can't be that hard, really.

So if I've got this straight, they'll accept a check that's illegal to accept, then charge a $12 fee for what every rep has told me is "processing", though it's illegal for them to process it in the first place, right? I mean, I can see a good lawyer in my future should I choose to pursue this - which just for fuck's sake, I might - because I've got reps basically admitting to me that BoA is breaking the law by "processing" unendorsed checks.

Besides getting this check mess straightened out, we also managed to sell a few hundred dollars worth of stuff this week, but because work isn't what it should be - that's all around - we'll still barely make rent. And by "barely", I mean next week's lack of budget - there's nothing left after paying rent to budget for - is enough to make me not know whether to laugh or cry. Because of that I've resorted, as usual, to drinking (because I might just do both, which scares me).

But once the rent's paid and Other Person's phone gets renewed next week I'm leaving that fucking bank. It's down to Gulf Winds or some other credit union now because I'm done with Bank of America, done done done. No one has the right to deny me the use of my money, or to take it away from me, especially on what's possibly their totally illegal whim.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
  • Comcast: done. No more phone calls or in-person visits for me. Saw the second credit in my account today, bringing the bill back to about where it was in July...

    A screencap of Comcast's website showing $75 and $50 credits given to me during 10-2016
  • Kittens: weighed. Last month Bowie weighed 7lbs, Pip was 6.5lbs, and Tab-Tab was 6lbs. Now Bowie and Pip weigh 9lbs and Tab-Tab is 8.5lbs.
  • Re-ordered flea medicine for all five cats. I thought I'd be able to use my Uni card (I take surveys through a university a few times a year that pay rather well) but due to the kitten's weights I was on the fence about whether to get the dose for under or over 9lbs. Bowie had a brief problem with tremors last time, so I figured if I did get the over 9lbs dose I'd buy in bulk and cut the pills down for Bowie and Tab-tab. That came out to just under $50 with one seller, but the card didn't go through for some reason, so I went back to my last seller and re-ordered what I got the last time. Two kittens will be slightly under-dosed (and buying both dose sizes for five cats actually cost more - too much to put on the Uni card) but I was going to under-dose Bowie anyhow to keep him safe, so oh, well.
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Which, before I get started, reminds me *glances at title*...I have two problems with writing - besides, of course, the inability to proofread my own writing as objectively as I proofread in general, and a style so elastic that 10 years of online writing hasn't narrowed it down to anything in particular (but in truth, there are at least two major styles I display; one's very hard to use because I never use it, so it gives me a headache like the one I have right now; the other's conversational and therefore almost too easy to use; I don't like either) - commas and where they should go, and when to use 'that' or 'which'. And yes, I know the Internet's a thing I can use to look up the answers, but my mind riots against commas and wants to switch up when I use 'that' for 'which' with wild abandon and I'm getting so tired of fighting it.


  • The kittens need to be re-weighed for their next round of Activyl because the doses come in two sizes: over or under nine pounds. They were in the 6-7lb range a month ago but kittens do strange things, like grow, that I have to take into account in order to not under or overdose them.
  • The kittens completed their third round of dewormer two days ago. Never saw a worm again after the lone worm I reported before their first dose.
  • Tab-tab tried to reproduce with Pip the other day. They're boys, so I take it it's time to look into the removal of that which produces the need to reproduce. Income's been too low lately to consider it.
  • Roof's still not fixed. I was actually glad the due date of last week came and went because it was supposed to get fixed just before Matthew was to hit, so I figured the roof would get fixed, fly off or get broken by the trees in the next storm, then have to be fixed again. Spare me my rich landlord's crying about having to fix the damn roof twice. At least if it ever does get fixed, we're getting a new roof, end to end. No more leaking in my bed every freakin' time it rains. Yay-ah.
  • Comcast lied about giving me most of the credits discussed in this post. It's not that I never got them - I saw evidence of at least two: one under "My Account" on their website and one in an email confirmation, but the first $75 credit I saw was apparently rescinded by an auditor before it could be applied to my next bill, and the next $75 credit never showed up. While I had $50 credited by them last week to partially make up for one missing credit, I agreed to another $75 to settle up, but still haven't seen it, despite more promises made by an escalation agent than I can even count. Hours lost toward trying to get credits promised, both in person at the local office and on the phone: at least five. Years off my life over the stress of fighting with Comcast for the better part of three years over so much stupid shit: at least five. I've been in bad relationships with actual people that were easier to endure and ultimately to just get the hell away from than Comcast is.
  • I need to do more online surveys and start selling on eBay again. I put off doing eBay over the storm last month and haven't looked back and can kind of understand my trepidation over it now: I'm afraid another storm will hit and I won't be able to ship items on time because of it. Things like that terrify me because I want my customers really happy.
  • I need to roll my phone back toWin8, though it kills the battery to run Win8. 11-3-16: done, about a week later. Everything's fine except the battery. Pictures won't sync from Win10 Mobile to OneDrive. I can log onto onedrive.com and nothing on the phone now is there, which gives me the most fragmented mess of pictures I've had since before I owned smartphones. I have to manually import the pictures now but sometimes the laptop won't recognize my phone as something that can have a picture on it, another bug I can't contemplate without flailing, so it won't find anything to import and why, Microsoft, why do you make our lives such living hell.
  • The Dell got a new keyboard. Unlike my laptop's replacement keyboard, it's a genuine part and works flawlessly. I wish I had it that easy on my HP - but, fwiw, the seller's refunded 75% of the purchase price, so ultimately I only paid $5 for it.